Our recommended reads for the holiday season

A selection of favorite books recommended and reviewed by GRIP authors and contributors in 2023.

Over the past year many contributors have recommended books to us, covering subjects from coaching to crypto crashes. For your reading pleasure we have set them out below.

Net Positive and Emma Bickerstaffe. Photo: Harvard Business Review Press/Private

Emma Bickerstaffe

Managing director, ESG and Sustainability, Apex

“I am re-reading Net Positive by Paul Polman and Andrew Winston at the moment, which provides an interesting perspective on how companies should look beyond profit to take ownership for all of the societal and environmental impacts created – increasing the positive while eradicating the negative. This chimes with our belief that managers should consider the impact of all of their investments, not just those which reside in an impact fund.”

Photo: Little, Brown Book Group/Penguin/Jossey-Bass

Katharine Wooller

Non-executive director, board adviser and press and TV commentator

Katharine Wooller.
Photo: Private

“I read a huge variety of books across fiction, non-fiction and business. Some of my favourite business titles are Play Bigger by Al Ramadan, Dave Peterson, Christopher Lochhead, and Kevin Maney, Leaders eat Last by Simon Sinek, Leading outside the Lines by by Jon R. Katzenbach, and Zia Khan.”

Photo: Profile Books

“I am currently reading Mary Beard’s SPQR: A history of Ancient Rome. She was one of my favourite academics when I did my degree at Cambridge. It’s a fascinating read on how cultures adapt and deal with economic and social change over a one thousand year period, and has much I can apply to my career a mere two millennia later!”

Photo: Wiley/Virgin Books/Harvard Business Review Press

Jeannette Lichner

A non-executive director, senior adviser and executive coach

“A have enjoyed reading from a young age – my parents were both avid readers so maybe it rubbed off on me. I tend to mix fiction and leadership /business books. I recently read what are now favourite novels: Lessons In ChemistryThe Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo (by Taylor Jenkins Reid) and The Personal Librarian. I read them in rapid succession and am struggling to find other books that measure up to their standard.” 

Jeannette Lichner. Photo: Private

“On the leadership side three books I recommend often to clients are: The Future Leader by Jacob Morgan; The CEO Next Door by Elena Botelho and Kim Powell; and Working Identity by Herminia Ibarra (for anyone in career transition mode).”

Photo: Washington Square Press/Berkley

Robert Nowacki

Technical Account Manager in Business Development at Global Relay

“Michael Lewis’s latest book, Going Infinite, takes us on a rollercoaster ride in a whole new amusement park – the crypto world. NFT, FTX, SBF – if those three-letter acronyms ring a bell, this book is for you. If they don’t – you have some catching up to do.

Photo: Allen Lane

“Seeing the world of cryptocurrencies from the perspective of people that had such a big influence on it – even if for a relatively short period of time – is imperative for understanding behavior, dynamics and weaknesses. Lewis enables us to get that glimpse. Just like Sam Bankman-Fried’s favourite game, Storybook Brawl, it is a battle of good and evil, or rather good and chaos. There might have been some genuine intentions behind FTX, but they eventually got lost as disinterest in any sort of controls and governance spread.”

Read the book review in full.

The book "Living Your Best Compliance Life," and author Mary Shirley.
 Living Your Best Compliance Life and author Mary Shirley. Photo: Mary Shirley

Julie DiMauro

US Content Manager, GRIP

Whether you’re new to compliance, a senior practitioner, or a consultant advising compliance departments, Mary Shirley’s helpful guidance, provided in her book Living Your Best Compliance Life: 65 Hacks and Cheat Codes to Level Up Your Compliance Program, comes in the form of incredibly creative ideas.

“It is about your everyday compliance practitioner without access to unlimited resources or unlimited budget and who possesses a typical compliance skill set, looking to make a difference and advance their program without overreliance on specialist, and oftentimes rather pricey, service providers”, writes veteran compliance officer and author Mary Shirley in the introduction to her new book.

Living Your Best Compliance Life curates these actionable hacks and tips while honoring such incredibly important aspects of compliance that can get lost in the weeds, such as promoting psychological safety at work and galvanizing more cross-team collaboration and CEO engagement in compliance activities.

Read the book review in full here.

Gavin Stewart 

An independent commentator on financial regulation; former regulator; novelist; ex-international rower and sports administrator.

Gavin Stewart. Photo: Private

“At this particular time, I would probably choose Lincoln, Gore Vidal’s inside-the-White House historical novel. When it came out in the mid-1980s, I was still a history student and, as well as its fascinating sub-plots and beautifully rounded imperfect characters, it offered a brilliant insight into US politics and the Civil War.”

Photo: Private

“If I may, can I also mention my own novel, Walk the Line which is about how a group of friends and their relationships change over a 40-year period, It jumps randomly back and forth across that period, revolving around the 7/7 London bombings in 2005. My second novel, An Endless Chain, is due out next year.”

Carmen Cracknell

Senior Reporter, GRIP

Photo: Rejuvenate Publishing

Tim Dasey’s Wisdom Factories: AI, Games, and the Education of a Modern Worker is a timely and much-needed analysis of how education can adapt for the AI era. He examines the multitude of challenges posed by AI, starting with a historical overview of how humans have dealt with new technologies and of how education systems have evolved in response. 

“The wisdom skills espoused by the 21st Century skill philosophies … need to be the central objectives, or we risk competing with AI instead of collaborating with it. We will lose that contest,” Dasey says.

He advocates nurturing wisdom and using gamification to improve workers’ and students’ skills. Games, play, and simulations don’t just bring fun back into learning, they provide a better way of teaching abstract concepts. An overemphasis on “working hard” in school years to soak up a large amount of information, much of which will be forgotten, has led to despondency and had the opposite effect of that intended.

Read the book review in full and hear more from Tim Dasey on the GRIP podcast.


Robert Mazur is a former undercover agent, New York Times bestselling author and global elite speaker offering consulting and expert witness services in the fields of money laundering, anti-money-laundering compliance, drug trafficking, corruption, and enhancing executive skills. We recommend both of Mazur’s books: The Infiltrator and The Betrayal.

Photo: Transworld Publishers Ltd

Earlier this year Mazur shared amusing anecdotes related to his work in the GRIP Files.

“For those that know The Infiltrator story, they know that we lured drug traffickers, money launderers and corrupt bankers to a country club in Florida where we staged a fake wedding. We convinced the ‘bad guys’ that there would be a bachelor party the night before the wedding. They all got in limousines and were separately transported to a high-rise office building in downtown Tampa. They were taken to different floors, where arrest teams took them into custody.

Icon Books

“One of the ‘bad guys’ was arrested by a team that included two female officers. As they put handcuffs on him, he loudly laughed. They asked him why he was laughing, and he said that he had been to a bachelor party like this before, where the female dancers dressed up as cops and handcuffed men. It took that arrest team a little while to convince him that this wasn’t a joke. He was truly under arrest.”